6 Popular Project Management Methodologies You Should Know

2 Jul, 2022 | Read in 6 minutes

6 popular project management methods: 1. Scrum • 2. Agile • 3. Waterfall • 4. Kanban • 5. Six Sigma • 6. Lean


There are many project management methodologies in the world. Every project manager must determine what methodology is suitable for the project and then plan the process or stages of the project management.

Choosing the proper method will make the project work more straightforward. Before learning more about project management methodologies, let's start by understanding what project management methodologies are.

What is the project management method?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project methodology as a system of practices, techniques, procedures and rules used by those working in a discipline. Lean, Kanban and Six Sigma practices are some popular project management methodologies.

The methodology will help project managers lead team members and manage ongoing projects. The method also facilitates how teams collaborate. Each procedure has a different strategy for managing the project and the problems that arise.

Using a methodology in a project does not guarantee the project will succeed. Improper implementation and the wrong execution process will cause problems. According to a Master of Project Academy survey, the most common issues that arise from poor project management are project cost overruns, project schedule delays and incompetent resources.

source: Master of Project Academy

How to determine which method to use?

To avoid mistakes in choosing the methodology, the project manager must know the project details the team will work on. Some of these can be used as a reference in selecting a methodology.

  • Scope and scale of the ongoing project
  • List of potential methods to use
  • Discuss with the team which methods to use
  • Verify whether the chosen method is the appropriate one by comparing the previous's success with the current one

One thing we need to remember is that there is no perfect methodology for a project. A Project has a different scope and terms. It is what makes the application of the method so varied.

6 Popular Project Management Methods

There are six popular project management methodologies. Each method has a different structure and value. Here are the details of each technique and when to use it most:

1. Scrum

The first project management methodology is Scrum. Scrum has five values: commitment, courage, focus, openness and respect. One cycle usually lasts a short process, generally two weeks. This method has several components: Scrum Team, Scrum Event, and Scrum Artefacts.

Scrum Team:

  • Product Owner: someone who best understands the wishes of consumers and stakeholders in the project.
  • Developers: a group of professionals who develop, design and program projects.
  • Scrum Master: a person who understands the scrum process and ensures that all teams understand the project's methods.

Scrum Event:

  • Sprint
  • Sprint Planning
  • Daily Scrum
  • Sprint Review
  • Sprint Retrospective

Scrum Artefacts:

  • Product Backlog
  • Sprint Backlog

Who should use Scrum?

A team of 7-10 people needs a flexible process approach to building a product. This method uses a small group approach to make the product more efficient. Some people generally combine this method with Agile.

2. Agile

One of the most well-known and widely used project management methods is Agile. Agile is a project management process that emphasises collaborative principles and thrives on team self-regulation. Each individual is expected to be able to develop and organise themself in the team so that when there is a change in the project, they are more flexible and dynamic.

Some people think Agile is not a method but a framework. However, many project managers use this method because it is more dynamic in project work and collaboration. There are 4 values ​​and 12 primary principles.


  • Individuals and interactions over process and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change by following a plan

Best Suited for:

The method is best suited for projects that require high flexibility, complexity and uncertainty in their development. This method involves two other ways in its own right, namely Scrum and Kanban, so its implementation is concurrent. This is why Agile is often referred to as a framework.

3. Waterfall

The waterfall methodology is a method that has the most traditional approach among other methods. This method uses a linear and sequential design approach so that we have to start over from the beginning when there is a revision process. The waterfall is considered to have no flexibility in the project process and is more expensive than other methods. The new team may continue the development phase at the next stage if the previous step has been completed. The following are the phases of Waterfall:

source: Asana

This method is commonly used in construction as it ensures that work stays on track and encourages clear communication in each process. The advantage of this method is that we can predict and plan the project as a whole.

Best used for:

The detailed phase in this method is best suited for large-scale, complex projects that involve multiple stakeholders. Projects with minimal changes.

4. Kanban

Kanban uses visual elements as an integral part of its methodology. The name Kanban is taken from Japanese, which means billboard. The process of using this method is to manage the workflow by placing tasks on the Kanban board. Placement on the board is intended to let all team members know the project workflow.

The Kanban method has been widely adopted by software, so you don't have to use the board physically. One of the applications that implement Kanban is VirtualSpace. So wherever team members are, they can still monitor project development.

Kanban is usually combined with Agile and Scrum frameworks, so the implementation is more relevant. There are six principles in Kanban:

  • Visualisation
  • Limiting work in progress
  • Flow management
  • Making policies explicit
  • Using feedback loops
  • Collaborative or experimental evolution

Elements in Kanban:

  • Kanban Board
  • Kanban Cards
  • Kanban Swimlanes

Structure in Kanban:

  • To-do
  • Doing
  • Done

source: VirtualSpace

Who is suitable for using this method?

Like Agile and Scrum, Kanban best suits projects with smaller teams and a flexible approach. Kanban is also suitable for remote teams. If you want to use a method to improve yourself or your daily tasks, Kanban will be the right choice.

5. Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a project management method that aims to improve quality and reduce the number of errors in project implementation. Some project managers combine Six Sigma with Agile and Lean. The phases in Six Sigma are often known as DMAIC and DMADV. What are DMAIC and DMADV?


  • Define the project goals
  • Measure critical components of the process and the product capabilities
  • Analyse the data and develop various designs for the process, eventually picking the best one
  • Design and test details of the process
  • Verify the design by running simulations and pilot program


  • Define the problem of the project goals
  • Measure in detail the various aspects of the current process
  • Analyse data
  • Improve the process
  • Control how the process is done in the future

Best Suited for:

Six Sigma is a method that is suitable for large organisations and has quite a lot of employees. The method is also ideal for improving the quality and efficiency of companies.

6. Lean

As the name suggests, Lean aims to reduce waste and create a more straightforward framework for project requirements. Lean is a principled methodology, not a strategy that dictates processes and things to do. It means that the team can do less to earn more or vice versa. The point is to maximise efficiency.

Lean has some principles, namely:

  • Young (wastefulness): things that consume resources but have no value
  • Mura (unevenness): things whose production is excessive so that it leaves waste
  • Muri (overburden): too much pressure on human resources

Who is most suitable to use Lean? This methodology is best suited for teams with efficiency issues such as manufacturing companies.

So which method should you choose?

Choosing the best methodology that suits your project is like finding a needle in the haystack. Some may fit while some may not. Project managers should work with the teams to determine the proper method. No method is perfect but doing the appropriate process and testing can minimise the issues arising.

Because of today's advanced technology, many project management tools are designed to assist us. Project management tools help us by setting timelines and deadlines, managing projects, assigning team members and roles, and performance tracking. Combining the right project management tool with the proper method makes it easier to complete projects.

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